That's right, we've got another Canadian coffee shop review for you. And no, it's not Tim Horton's. I did go there, though. Had to make sure I got my once-every-few-years Canadian experience. Their coffee is better than you'd expect, but the chocolate glaze Timbits are uh-MAH-zing. (My fave.)
Cafe Rosso is not-so-conveniently located in a gravel lot behind some other buildings in the neighborhood of Inglewood (not to be confused with Nashville's Inglewood). Seeing as most of my knowledge of the expansive city of Calgary's geography comes from looking out the back seat window of my aunt's sedan for four days, the best I can give you is "close to downtown."
The thing I learned from this visit is that pretension knows no borders. Ironic sketchy mustaches and the refusal to carry any flavored syrups because the espresso they're brewing "has a sweetness to it" anyway are languages spoken all over the world.
The atmosphere at Cafe Rosso was a little bit rustic, a little bit
rock and roll modern. It looked a little like a barn from the outside but was furnished with modern chairs and tables, bold colors and abstract art. It was a small shop, but it seemed to fit the amount of people coming in and out (not a lot, but enough to stay in business).
For a while, the majority of the sound was provided by a group of ethnically diverse twenty-somethings (partially seen above) passionately pontificating about relationships and boundaries and philosophy. This, I found, is also universal. Except in Nashville they probably would have said the f-word a little less.
Quote snippet: "I mean, I feel like Liam knows that..."
Finally the barista wised up and put on some music. It was appreciated.
It should be noted the barista had both an ironic mustache AND an ironic mullet. When I saw him behind the counter and the coffee roaster machine looming in the distance, I knew we had come to the right place.
Though we were in Canada, we had been walking around a lot and it was in the upper 70's/lower 80's, so I opted for an iced vanilla latte. However, as I previously mentioned, I was then told that they do not carry flavored syrups. Like, at all. But don't worry, the barista said. The espresso they were brewing that day was "floral and fruity" anyway so it would probably be sweet enough.
Judging by the fact that they didn't carry syrup I took a gamble and asked if they had almond milk. Surprise -- they did.
I got an iced non-vanilla latte with almond milk. It was actually really good. Sweet enough on its own. Go figure. Score one for you, Mullet.
Latte taste rating: 8
Some of my family members got lattes and mochas, and I have to say, Mullet knew what he was doing. I wonder if they know about latte art competitions. Who am I kidding? Of course they do.
How adorable is my cousin, you guys? #parttimemodel
Latte Art Rating: 10
The barista was totally nice, despite the mullet/stache combo, but the service was a little slow. Probably because they don't usually have groups of 8 women come in at once demanding lattes on a Friday afternoon and only schedule one barista. He was a little bumbling with the orders but overall, a good barista. Swan latte art covers a multitude of mullet-haircuts.
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 6. It was quiet, guys. Except for the obviously-regulars debating the existence of universal truth or whatever they were talking about. And it was a small shop. A bit like stepping into someone else's cool downtown loft that like, your friend's friend casually invited to and you weren't sure if it was a joke or not but you still wanted to go because you've never been to a downtown loft before and maybe it looks like Felix's from Orphan Black. No one really looked at us when we walked in, though, that I noticed.
Disheveled Facial Hair: 1. Duh.
Out-of-control Cranial Hair: 2. Aforementioned mullet, and afro on one of the existentialists.
Parking: 100+++ There was a gravel lot about the size of a football field. There were tons of spots. Fo' free. My aunt decided to park at the very end anyway, but that's her journey.
Level of pretentiousness: 9. It's all there, guys. But in the best way.
Fedora/Newsboy Hat/Any Kind of Hat count: Zero. ZERO. Not even a cowboy hat and it was Stampede week. But to be fair, I assume most locals treat that like we treat CMA fest and anyone wearing a cowboy hat is obviously a tourist so they avoid wearing them at all costs.
Have you ever been to Tim Horton's? Or (long shot) Cafe Rosso? Do you believe in flavored syrups? What would you rate that latte art?
Psssst. Been to a coffee shop outside the immediate Nashville area lately? Plan to? How about takin' some notes and some pics and guest posting for us? If you're interested in guest posting, message us here!